I think of Dublin as a city that is made up of dozens of little villages that run into each other, but all of which have their own unique quality.
They run around the bay like a rich tapestry of culture making this city so unique and spellbinding despite the grey skies and lashing rain.
We haven't always been known for our food in Dublin but over the last number of years a rich diversity of ethnicities bringing their cooking to the city have improved what we do.
In the '80s it was Italian chippers but today Dublin is home to everything from sushi and Korean food through to Mexican and Creole. Nowhere is this more evident than in Dublin's villages – and quite possibly my favourite of all is Malahide.
The village itself feels like one short street but restaurants, bars and cafés invade every nook and cranny of this gorgeous seaside spot.
Seeing as I was eating with a vegetarian I had perused the menus in advance to find something other than the usual offerings that are inflicted on our veggie friends – pasta, goat's cheese tart and mushrooms.
Chefs really can be so unimaginative sometimes.
Kajjal was the perfect spot because their Pakistani-inspired menu had a full section that included eight vegetarian dishes – all sounding more mouthwatering than the last. I often wonder about going veggie, and conclude every time that I'd easily be able to live off food from the subcontinent if I did.
I started with a little skewered monkfish, which had clearly been in a roasting hot clay oven because it was equally spicy, moist and tender all at once. A delicious starter.
The papadums came with chutney and dips, and were enough to keep the veggie entertained as I savaged my tender flesh across the table.
The starters, though, were only a warm up for the wonderful mains.
Small pots came to the table, delivered with great panache by the tireless waiters. Our naan was superb, the rice light and fluffy – but it was the sauces that stole the show.
I had slow-cooked lamb and the veggie options included a delicious Dahl and some outstanding cauliflower. Very much like Spanish tapas, this was the best of all worlds, being able to dip in and out of the various dishes.
For many readers, Malahide is probably a decent drive or train journey – but the good news is you have a huge choice of restaurants once you get there.
And nothing tops off a meal quite like having a pint in Gibneys.
Make your plans now to come here on a long summer evening; a walk along the beach is as good an experience you'll have, with gorgeous food from Kajjal resting in your belly. Do it. You'll love it.